Health Canada has finally approved the use of the abortion pill, RU-486 in Canada. It is expected to be available in January 2016.
What is it?
• The drug will be sold under the brand name Mifegymiso in Canada.
• Mifegymiso is actually two drugs: Mifepristone and misoprostol.
When can you take it?
• Mifegymiso will be used to terminate pregnancies of up to 7 weeks (49 days from the first day of the last period).
How can you get it?
• Women will need to obtain a prescription from a doctor after having an ultrasound.
• Initially prescriptions will probably only be available through doctors who already provide abortion services.
How does it work?
• Mifepristone is taken first (one tablet), this blocks production of progesterone, needed to sustain a pregnancy.
• Misoprostol is taken 24-48 hours later (four tablets). This causes the uterus to contract and relaxes the opening of the cervix. Vaginal bleeding usually starts a few hours later.
What actually happens?
• On average, bleeding lasts 11 days, but it’s normal to have some bleeding or spotting for 2-4 weeks.
• The passage of clots is common – like a heavy period because the lining of the uterus is thicker. Clots may be large (size of a loonie) for the first few days.
• Cramping happens as the uterus contracts and returns to its usual size.
• Medical abortion is like an early miscarriage. It is normal to have bleeding and cramping.
• You might also feel dizzy, have a headache, diarrhea, experience temporary flushes or sweats and feel nauseous or vomit.
What to watch out for?
• Women should start to feel better each day after the abortion.
• Serious complications have warning signs, such as:
• heavy bleeding that soaks through 2 sanitary pads an hour, for 2 hours or more in a row
• abdominal pain that is not helped by medication, rest or a hot water bottle
• a fever of 38°C or higher
• an unpleasant-smelling discharge from your vagina
• no bleeding 24 hours after using misoprostol
How safe is it?
• Medical abortions are very common, safe and unlikely to cause any complications.
• Problems with first trimester abortions are rare.
• Mifepristone is approved in more than 50 countries. It has been approved for use in the United States for about 15 years. It was first licensed in France in 1988.